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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hamilton County's Regional Enforcement Narcotics Unit Ripped By Police Auditors: Report RENU Cops Strayed Over State Lines

Cincinnati Audit Questions RENU Tactics
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- After years of staffing a countywide drug task force called RENU, the Cincinnati Police Department abruptly ended its participation last week.  Now the reason for removal of the nine city cops is becoming clear.  An audit of Cincinnati's law-enforcement operations discovered evidence that RENU officers appear to have operated out-of-state where they lack legal jurisdiction.  The audit did not offer any details, nor did it pinpoint any geographic locations.  But it raised the specter of a rogue agency exceeding its authority.  RENU has been under command of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, where it is seen as highly effective.  But Strategic Policy Partnership -- the national consulting firm that conducted the audit -- recommended that the city quit the county task force and reassign its officers to the police department's vice squad.  The full text of the 114-page audit is available by clicking here.   RENU is discussed on page 78:

"The Department has had a long-standing involvement with a County Drug Task Force called RENU. A substantial number of departmental police officers are assigned to the task force, addressing vice problems in Cincinnati and the surrounding area. Some of the activity is within Cincinnati and thus leads to conflicts between the Cincinnati Police Department's Vice Unit and the operations of RENU, as those operations are not always coordinate.

"There have also been indications that members of the RENU team have acted out of state without clear authority.

"As the Vice Unit is being restructured under the interim reorganization, and numerous officers are being moved to Districts, it is wise for the Department to consolidate drug investigations that remain centralized with those of the task force. Thus, we suggest that the Department no longer participate in the task force, allowing some of those officers to be reassigned to the reconstituted Vice Unit. The Unit should seek federal standing, partnering with ATF and/or DEA, permitting them to legally follow leads across the state border."

What is disturbing to some, The Daily Bellwether has been told, is the implication is that RENU somehow engaged in activities that could be illegal.  The audit report could open the door to litigation or investigations.  Or fishing expeditions by defense lawyers.  At this point, nobody is sure what, if anything, is coming over the suggestion RENU appears to "have acted out of state without clear authority."

City officials have not talked about any of that in their public utterances about the police audit.  In fact, the topic hasn't been mentioned, nor have the Cincinnati newspapers and TV stations caught on.  (You can be sure they will be following up The Daily Bellwether's report today.)   Instead, the city's leaders have said the reforms recommended in the report will lead to improvements such as putting more cops on the streets.  From the press release about the audit:

"We are focusing on initiatives that support our commitment to community-oriented policing and to being more efficient and more responsive," said City Manager Dohoney. He and the Chief announced the audit would be a key first initiative when [James] Craig was hired to lead the department in July 2011.
The recommendations are inter-related and work together to emphasize neighborhood policing efforts, improve the quality and effectiveness of investigations, change the work environment for department staff, redesign the organizational structure, and invest in technology for efficiency."
Here's the link to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office description of RENU's law enforcement responsibilities


  1. Sounds like defense bar is going to have a field day. Is is law enforcement or illegal spying?

  2. Bill,

    They probably have a GPS on your bumper already.

  3. Another story the Enquirer dozed through. But we do know Jean Schmidt has an identical twin who looks just like her. We know that a prominent lawyer, initials D.S. (I won't humiliate him more than the newspaper and has fallen on hard times. Real news? Not much interest in that.

  4. Why didn't you mention that the Police Division's Intelligence Unit should start spying on the Tea Party and PETA? That is recommended in the audit.

  5. Consultant hired to make the audit went to Antioch University. Ground zero for leftists and potheads. He wants city involved with ATF task force. We can send guns to Mexico with the Obama-istas. RENU was a successful countywide agency that is being dismantled when the county and city are talking about merging various functions. Sarcasm alert: Shows how those D's at City Hall are truly committed to merging/saving public taxes.

  6. My goodness, talk about a fishing expedition! It is not unusual for police investigators to cross state lines. Nothing illegal or unethical about such behavior as long as they are not trying to enforce the other state statutes or impose their domiciled state laws in the neighboring state. Many times Cincinnati police investigators have crossed over to Kentucky in order to conduct an investigation and also stakeout a facility. Stop getting your panties in such a wad, and think before hitting the send button.

    1. You must put a hook in the water to catch a fish. These auditors noticed something or they would not have said the police were acting out of state without clear authority. That sounds quite fishy and some day the forays beyond Ohio could be weighed on the scales of justice. Best to avoid fishing without a license, I say.

  7. RENU=Rotten Enforcement Not Uncorrupted

    The law enforcement community realizes that the War on Drugs is a complete farce. Cincinnati and Hamilton County are flooded with drugs. They have been flooded with drugs for decades. RENU cannot stop the flood. It is time to try something different. Legalization and taxation. Bring the drug black market into the open. We are getting a casino so we have changed our minds about gambling. We repealed Prohibition and liquor sales are being used for state economic development programs. Al Capone would be a fan of RENU because he would know it couldn't touch him.

  8. It is obvious that you do not understand RENU and vice work. RENU is a business, it is in the business of seizing money, property, and all proceeds of illegal activity where the law provides for forfeiture. With the present arrangement, the forfeiture proceeds are shared with the prosecutor and the police agencies involved in the law enforcement activity. RENU make a lot of money. The money is then used for law enforcement activity, which may include equipment, cars, computers, guns,and law enforcement seminars in exotic places. The proceeds may be used for crime prevention activities also. If the city does its own vice work, it will not have to share its forfeiture proceeds with the HCSO. The city could then use more of its forfeiture money on law enforcement and use less of the taxpayers money. I would be interested in finding out just how much the HCSO and prosecutor's office have in their forfeiture stockpiles.